- Overall, we rate Al Bawaba Questionable due to a lack of transparency regarding funding and ownership, as well as government censorship that results in the publication of pro-state propaganda. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to selective reporting and a few failed fact checks.
Reasoning: Lack of transparency, Propaganda, Censorship, Failed Fact Checks, Poor Sourcing
World Press Freedom Rank: Jordan 128/180
Launched in 2000, Al Bawaba is a news website that focuses on the Middle East and the Arab world that features news, politics, Arab entertainment, economy, culture, and more. Al Bawaba is based in Amman, Jordan and is published in Arabic and English. Al Bawaba has several web portals, one of them is SyndiGate which is a digital content syndication service. The Executive Publisher of Al Bawaba English is John Lillywhite. He is also the Digital Transition Lead. For the editorial team see here.
Funded by / Ownership
The Al Bawaba Website does not disclose ownership or financing information. Our research reveals that Hani Jabsheh is the CEO and founder of the site. Also, THCG, Inc. a New York-based venture capital firm, as well as Frankfurt-based TFG Venture Capital, initially provided funding to Al Bawaba. The name of the owner in Jordan (headquarters) is Al Bawaba Middle East Limited which is registered in Cyprus. Revenue is derived through advertising.
Analysis / Bias
In review, when reporting national news Al Bawaba uses emotionally loaded language in their headlines that is always favorable to Jordan’s Royal Family such as “Dubai’s Missing Princess: The Worrying Case of Sheikah Latifa” and “Princess Raya of Jordan is Engaged to a British Journalist Who Happens to be Roald Dahl’s Grandson”. When covering the national news they republish articles through SyndiGate, the Jordan Times, and the Jordan News Agency, such as this: “King Abdullah Promises Better Life for People in Jordan”. Further, they republish celebrity gossip here. When it comes to sourcing, Al Bawaba utilizes credible sources such as hrw.org, Deutsche Welle (DW) as well as factually mixed sources such as The Guardian, Anatolian Agency, and questionable sources such as dailymail.co.uk. Al Bawaba also frequently reports negatively on the UAE “Curious Case of Emirati Emir: Sheikh Rashid Flees to Qatar, Reveals UAE Royal Secrets!” In general, Al Bawaba publishes heavily censored right-leaning news that is not always factual.
Failed Fact Checks
- The daughter of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney went to Iraq to become a human shield. – False
- A woman who was part of the violence in Jamia in Delhi was actually a man.” – False
Overall, we rate Al Bawaba Questionable due to a lack of transparency regarding funding and ownership, as well as government censorship that results in the publication of pro-state propaganda. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to selective reporting and a few failed fact checks. (2/16/2017) Updated (M. Huitsing 6/18/2020)